Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/69

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
ⅼⅹⅲ
introduction.

habitants of Yathrib, who had joined him and who were called El Ansâr, ‘the helpers;’ and lastly, a large class who are spoken of by the uncomplimentary name of Munâfiqûn or ‘hypocrites,’ consisting of those who went over to his side from fear or compulsion, and lastly those ‘in whose heart is sickness,’ who, though believing on him, were prevented by tribal or family ties from going over to him openly.

Abdallâh ibn Ubai was a chief whose influence operated strongly against Mohammed, and the latter was obliged to treat him for a long time almost as an equal, even after he had lost his political power.

The other party at Medînah was composed of the Jewish tribes settled in and around the city of Yathrib. The Jews were at first looked to as the most natural and likely supporters of the new religion, which was to confirm their own.

These various parties together with the pagan Arabs of Mecca and the Christians are the persons with whom the Medînah Sûrahs chiefly deal.

The style of the Medînah Sûrahs resembles that of the third period of the Meccan revelations, the more matter-of-fact nature of the incidents related or the precepts given accounting in a great measure for the more prosaic language in which they are expressed.

As in the Meccan Sûrahs it is possible to arrive at a tolerably accurate notion of their chronological order by noting the events to which they refer, and comparing them with the history itself; although the doubtful authority of many of the traditions and the frequent vagueness of the allusions in the Qur′ân itself leave much uncertain.

In the Medînah Sûrahs the prophet is no longer merely trying to convert his hearers by examples, promises, and warnings; he addresses them as their prince and general, praising or blaming them for their conduct, and giving them laws and precepts as occasion required.

Nöldeke has given a masterly analysis of the various historical and other allusions, and has reduced as far as